12.08.2013 - 15.08.2013
I'm in Bayuquan, a coastal boom town. Coarse manners and things I formerly complained of are at fever pitch here. The spitting, the shouting and yes, the thing I formerly mentioned. There would be more chance of winning the lottery than me getting from one end of the town to the other without hearing 'low wai!' and being talked about, laughed at, pointed at. This morning I just went to get some breakfast at the next door restaurant and then back to my room and was accosted several times. It seems not one single Chinese person is kind enough to realise that I have to put up with this shit all day. Marching quickly through the reception and up the stairs, I thought I'd escaped the last of them, but one last 'lowwai!' by an extremely observant woman in that hard, 4th tone way the Chinese say it sailed up the stairs.
Many moons ago when I did my TEFL one of our instructors had just left Turkey and was bitter about the fact that he'd wasted 8 years of his life there. He was fed up of the place and wished he'd got out sooner. Next year I will have been in China for 8 years on the trot. I took his story as a warning not to fall into the same trap; but fell into it anyway. Of course, one could argue that the problem is really me and that wherever I go I'll have to take myself. It's not that I don't know I have shortcomings. I'm sure all this business is connected with me taking myself too seriously but I've mislaid seeing the funny side of this and can only find it again when I'm drunk or stoned (and I've now given up the latter option). The thing about China is though I have been angry here for so long, I've seldom been depressed like I was in Europe and I do have the odd day of happiness/optimism when I feel like continuing my life here.
Though England is so much more beautiful than China I find something about the decay and dislocation of society depressing. Perhaps different countries just show me different aspects of my own illness. In any case, something has always kept me on in China. It was the apartment and the easy money but it's never really been all that easy. Nonetheless, I promise I'll post something more upbeat next.